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Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano spews ash, gas

MEXICO VOLCANO | 17 de mayo de 2013

Mexico's Cenapred disaster-management agency provided this photo of an explosion of gas and ash from the Popocatepetl volcano, located about 64 kilometers (40 miles) from Mexico City. EFE/CENAPRED

Mexico City, May 17 (EFE).- Columns of gas and ash 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) high were detected after two strong explosions from the Popocatepetl volcano, Mexico's Cenapred disaster-management agency said Friday.

The first blast came at 10:14 p.m. Thursday, followed by another a little more than two hours later.

The explosions deposited glowing fragments up to 1.5 kilometers from the crater as well as columns of ash and gas that were carried northeastward by the prevailing winds, Cenapred said.

Popocatepetl, which rises 5,452 meters (17,875 feet) above sea level, is located about 64 kilometers (40 miles) from Mexico City.

Mexican authorities have prepared contingency plans to evacuate communities near the volcano and they placed around 700 military personnel on alert to aid in that effort should it become necessary.

The closest municipalities to Popocatepetl are around 12 kilometers (7.2 miles) away.

Popocatepetl, Mexico's second-highest peak, is one of 14 active volcanoes in the Aztec nation.

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